Bucks Rumors

Wolves’ Naz Reid Named Sixth Man Of The Year

Timberwolves big man Naz Reid has been named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year for the 2023/24 season, the league announced on Wednesday evening (via Twitter).

A former undrafted free agent, Reid averaged 13.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 0.9 BPG on .477/.414/.736 shooting in 81 games this season (24.2 MPG).

Reid is the first player in Timberwolves franchise history to win the Sixth Man award, per a team press release.

The 24-year-old was a major reason why Minnesota didn’t skip a beat when Karl-Anthony Towns was sidelined with a knee injury late in the season. The Wolves went 14-6 without Towns and 56-26 overall, good for the No. 3 seed in the West.

The voting was remarkably close (Twitter link via the NBA). In fact, it was the smallest margin between first- and second-place finishers since the current voting format was implemented 21 years ago, according to the league (via Twitter).

Reid finished with 45 first-place votes, 39 second-place votes and 10 third-place votes for a total of 352 points. Runner-up Malik Monk had the exact same number of second- and third-place votes, but finished with two fewer first-place votes for 342 total points.

Kings guard Monk appeared in 72 games this season for Sacramento, all off the bench. He averaged 15.4 PPG, 2.9 RPG and 5.1 APG on .443/.350/.829 shooting in 26.0 MPG.

Bucks big man Bobby Portis, who finished third in Sixth Man voting last season, finished a distant third again in ’23/24, receiving 81 total points. He averaged 13.8 PPG and 7.4 RPG on .508/.407/.790 shooting without missing a game this season for Milwaukee (24.5 MPG).

Clippers wing Norman Powell (65 points) and Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (40 points) finished fourth and fifth in voting, respectively. No other player received more than three points.

Powell actually received the most third-place votes of any player, but fewer first- and second-place votes than Portis, which is why he finished behind Milwaukee’s forward/center.

Jose Alvarado, Russell Westbrook, T.J. McConnell, Jonathan Isaac, Jaime Jaquez, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Bojan Bogdanovic all received at least one vote.

Injury Notes: G. Allen, Giannis, Hardaway, Kawhi

Suns wing Grayson Allen re-injured his right ankle early in the third quarter of Game 2 vs. Minnesota on Tuesday, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Allen, who suffered a right ankle sprain in Game 1, turned that same ankle when he landed on Mike Conley‘s foot as he tried to block a shot attempt (Twitter video link).

Allen was unable to play the final 21 minutes for the Suns, who find themselves in a 2-0 hole after Tuesday’s loss. However, X-rays on the ankle were negative, per head coach Frank Vogel. Allen is considered day-to-day and isn’t ruling out the possibility of returning for Game 3.

“Forty-eight hours in between, two days,” Allen told reporters. “We’ll see how it goes after two days.”

Allen scored just three points in more than 17 minutes of action on Tuesday, but he’s an important connecting piece in Suns lineups featuring their three stars — he can defend on the perimeter and led the NBA with a .461 3PT% this season. Phoenix was a +3 in Allen’s time on the floor on Tuesday, but ultimately lost the game by 12 points.

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Bucks head coach Doc Rivers told reporters that Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf strain) was taking shots and was “on the floor a bunch” on Tuesday, suggesting that he’s “getting closer” to a return (Twitter link via Eric Nehm of The Athletic). However, Shams Charania of The Athletic said on FanDuel’s Run it Back show (Twitter video link) that Antetokounmpo still has a number of benchmarks to clear. “Still not much cutting, no scrimmaging, no all-out running yet,” Charania said. “… I think the Bucks have to be prepared to keep playing on without Giannis (and) making sure he’s 100% when he does make it back.”
  • Mavericks swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. sprained his right ankle in Tuesday’s win over the Clippers and didn’t play at all in the second half (Twitter link). Hardaway’s status for Game 3 on Friday is unclear at this point.
  • Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, who played 35 minutes on Tuesday in his first game since March 31, admitted that he has some rust to shake off, but said after the loss to Dallas that his right knee felt good, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Improving his conditioning and his rhythm will be a goal for Game 3. “This is my first game in 20-something days,” Leonard said. “We got to be better as a unit overall and it starts with me. And even if my wind is low, I got to find a way.”

Lillard Showed How Much He Missed Playoffs

  • Damian Lillard erupted for 35 points in Game 1 of the Bucks’ first-round series against the Pacers. The longtime All-Star guard was itching to get back into the postseason after a two-year absence with Portland, Jamal Collier of ESPN writes. “The last two years not being in the playoffs, it (stunk),” Lillard said. “Early vacations. Last year, I went to Coachella. I ain’t never been able to go to Coachella. Just having that long summer, I was over that. Being able to be in a playoff series on a championship team, championship organization, knowing that we got an opportunity for it, that was the thing I was looking forward to most.”
  • Not surprisingly, Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t play in Game 2 this evening, the team tweets. The Bucks superstar had been listed as doubtful due to a calf injury suffered late in the regular season.

Injury Updates: Vanderbilt, Kawhi, Giannis, Suggs, Anderson, Allen

Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt, who hasn’t played since February 1 due to a right midfoot sprain, is targeting a Game 3 return, a source familiar with the situation tells Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

According to McMenamin’s source, Vanderbilt has been ramping up his workouts in the past couple weeks and had one of his most intense on-court sessions yet on Monday. His availability on Thursday will be determined based on how his body responds to that increased intensity.

As previously reported, Lakers big man Christian Wood (left knee surgery) is also aiming to make it back for Game 3 vs. Denver. It remains to be seen how much the team would use Vanderbilt and Wood – and how effective they’d be – following long layoffs. Still, given that they’re in a 2-0 hole against the Nuggets, head coach Darvin Ham and the Lakers will likely welcome all the help they can get as they look for a way to beat the defending champions.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (knee inflammation) is considered questionable to play in Game 2 vs. Dallas on Tuesday, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Leonard took part in Monday’s practice, though head coach Tyronne Lue described it as a walk-through session with no contact.
  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf strain) went through a “pretty good, brisk workout” on Sunday, then had a “maintenance day” on Monday, per head coach Doc Rivers (story via Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). While Antetokounmpo appears to be making some progress in his recovery, he’s listed as doubtful to play in Game 2 vs. Indiana on Tuesday.
  • Magic guard Jalen Suggs was carried off the court in the first quarter of Monday’s Game 2 with what appeared to be a significant left knee injury, but he was able to return and play for most of the second half, according to Tom Withers of The Associated Press. Suggs, whose injury was initially diagnosed as a left knee strain, expects to remain available going forward. “I’m good,” he said. “I was able to finish. It will be cool to get back home and get treatment for a couple of days. We play Thursday at 7 p.m. and I’ll be ready.”
  • Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson was able to practice on Monday, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, but he’s listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game due to a right hip pointer. Suns wing Grayson Allen is also considered questionable to suit up for that contest after spraining his right ankle in Game 1, tweets Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports.

2024 NBA Draft Tiebreaker Results

Tiebreakers among teams with identical regular-season records were broken on Monday through random drawings to determine the order for this year’s draft prior to the lottery.

The results are as follows, according to a press release from the league:

  • Charlotte Hornets (No. 3) over Portland Trail Blazers (No. 4).
    • Note: The Hornets will get one more lottery ball combination (out of 1,000) than the Trail Blazers.
  • Sacramento Kings (No. 13) over Golden State Warriors (No. 14)
    • Note: The Kings will get one more lottery ball combination (out of 1,000) than the Warriors.
    • Note: The Warriors will send their pick to the Trail Blazers unless it moves into the top four.
  • Philadelphia 76ers (No. 16) over Los Angeles Lakers (No. 17) over Orlando Magic (No. 18) over Indiana Pacers (No. 19)
    • Note: The Pelicans have until June 1 to decide whether to acquire the Lakers’ pick or defer it to 2025.
    • Note: The Pacers will send their pick to the Raptors.
  • Milwaukee Bucks (No. 21) over Phoenix Suns (No. 22) over New Orleans Pelicans (No. 23).
    • Note: The Pelicans will exercise their swap rights with the Bucks and move up to No. 21.
  • Dallas Mavericks (No. 24) over New York Knicks (No. 25).
    • Note: The Mavericks will send their pick to the Knicks.
  • Denver Nuggets (No. 28) over Oklahoma City Thunder (No. 29).
    • Note: The Thunder will send their pick to the Jazz.

While the tiebreaker winner will pick ahead of the loser(s) in the first round, that order will be flipped in the second round. For instance, the Pacers’ second-round pick (traded to the Clippers) will be at No. 46, followed by the Magic at No. 47, and the Lakers (traded to San Antonio) at No. 48. Philadelphia’s second-round pick (which would have been No. 49) is forfeited due a previous free agency violation.

For lottery teams that finished with identical records, the second-round order is still to be determined depending on the lottery results.

For example, if the Trail Blazers win the No. 1 overall pick on lottery night and Charlotte slips to No. 5, the Hornets’ pick in the second round would be at No. 33, while Portland’s would be at No. 34 (Charlotte has traded its second-rounder to Portland, however, while the Blazers have sent theirs to Milwaukee).

Pistons Notes: FA, Trade Targets, Draft, President, More

Appearing on the HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic said the Pistons will likely explore the viability of pursuing Miles Bridges or Tobias Harris in free agency, though he conceded that could change depending who they hire to be the new president of basketball operations.

While he doesn’t expect Detroit to give anyone a long-term, maximum-salary deal, Edwards suggested a short-term deal with a higher annual salary could be an option if the team pursues Bridges or Harris. Edwards also thinks the Pistons will undergo a “significant roster overhaul” this offseason through a combination of trades and free agent signings, with Malik Monk another impending free agent to potentially keep an eye on.

Scotto said the Nets want to keep Nic Claxton on a long-term contract, and Brian Lewis of The New York Post recently told Scotto he believes there’s better than a 50/50 chance the center will remain with Brooklyn. However, Edwards thinks Claxton would fill a major need for Detroit as a rim protector, even though it might push Jalen Duren to a reserve role.

Edwards previously listed five ideas for the new head of basketball operations, and Scotto believes Bucks GM Jon Horst, a Michigan native, is the main name to keep an eye on.

As for the futures of GM Troy Weaver and head coach Monty Williams, Edwards said he wouldn’t be surprised if neither is back next season, particularly Weaver. Despite being on a lucrative long-term deal, Edwards placed the odds at 60/40 that Williams would not be Detroit’s head coach in 2024/25.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • Edwards of The Athletic predicts that, of the veteran free agents Detroit has this offseason, only Simone Fontecchio will be retained. Edwards is convinced of that happening, putting the odds at 100%. He also thinks Fontecchio will receive a four-year deal worth in the range of $56-68MM as a restricted free agent. The Italian forward has said he expects to be back next season.
  • In a mailbag for The Detroit Free Press (subscription required), Omari Sankofa II discusses the Pistons’ basketball operations hierarchy, among other topics. The objective of hiring a president of basketball operations, according to Sankofa’s sources, is to “unify a front office that has clearly hit a significant stump, to say the least, in its ongoing remake of the team.” That person would have full autonomy over who gets hired and fired, Sankofa adds.
  • If the Pistons decide to keep their first-round pick, who should they target? If it lands No. 1 overall, Edwards of The Athletic would select French big man Alexandre Sarr, who played for the Perth Wildcats of the NBL this season. However, if it were up to him, Edwards says he’d trade the pick. After finishing with the worst record in the NBA for the second straight season, Detroit has a 14% chance of landing the top selection and can do no worse than No. 5 overall.

Doncic, Gilgeous-Alexander, Jokic Named MVP Finalists

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Nuggets center Nikola Jokic were revealed on Sunday as the finalists for the Most Valuable Player award, according to the NBA (Twitter link).

Doncic led the league in scoring (33.9 points per game) and finished second in assists (9.8) while also grabbing 9.2 rebounds per contest. Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder to the top seed in the Western Conference by averaging 30.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 2.0 steals per contest. Jokic, who is widely considered the favorite to win his third MVP trophy, averaged 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists per night.

The NBA also announced the finalists for six other postseason awards. Here are the finalists for all of those awards:

Most Valuable Player

Sixth Man

Defensive Player of the Year

Most Improved Player

Note: Sengun appeared in just 63 games but was eligible for award consideration based on the season-ending injury exception described in our glossary entry on the 65-game rule.

Coach of the Year

  • Mark Daigneault, Thunder
  • Chris Finch, Timberwolves
  • Jamahl Mosley, Magic

Rookie of the Year

Clutch Player of the Year

Central Notes: Pacers, Lillard, Middleton, Bulls, Pistons

With All-NBA Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo on the shelf for tonight’s Game 1 matchup against the Pacers, the team’s second- and third-most important offensive contributors, Damian Lillard and Khris Middleton, are being expected to step up.

As Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes, Milwaukee will count on Lillard and Middleton to keep the team cooking with their distribution, not just their own shooting. Both are excellent when it comes to scoring in isolation, but the team as a collective will need to be strong, too.

“It’s the best team I’ve been on,” Lillard said. “So we’re capable. We can win games. And when we get (Antetokounmpo) back, we’ll be even better. So I think that’s that’s how I’m looking at it. I’m not looking at it like ‘Aw man. We can’t…’ We’ve shown it and I’ve been there before.”

Nehm notes that the team can go through major scoring droughts without Antetokounmpo operating as the fulcrum of the Bucks’ attack.

“We just can’t get stuck,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “When we get stuck, we have proven over years that we’re not great offensively. But when that ball is now there and we move it there and we get to the second side — or get to the second action, may be even a better way of saying that — we’ve proven that we’re really good. So we have to do that.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • For as long as Antetokounmpo is out in this series for the Bucks, the Pacers’ focal point on defense now becomes the team’s only other All-Star, Lillard. As Kelly Iko of The Athletic details, Indiana has already enjoyed some success in slowing him down during the regular season. In games played against the Pacers this season, Lillard’s field goal shooting declined to 32% from the floor and 26.5% from long range. “I’m not going to give away too many secrets,” guard Aaron Nesmith said of how the team defends Lillard. “They’re a very different team when we played them earlier in the year — different coaching staff, different roster a bit. There are things we’re going to do differently, but we’re excited — it’ll be fun.”
  • After missing the playoffs for a second straight season despite fielding a veteran-heavy team, Bulls team vice president Arturas Karnisovas conceded that personnel changes could be in order this summer. Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic breaks down how he thinks Chicago can begin to construct a winning team culture.
  • After a 14-68 run in 2023/24, the Pistons face a lot of questions regarding their roster this summer. Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscriber link) lists which players he deems most — and least — likely to return in 2024/25. Perhaps most surprisingly, he thinks 2022 lottery picks Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren could serve as intriguing trade chips for Detroit this summer. The Pistons are still looking to add a new lead executive in their front office, which obviously could dictate how the team moves forward in terms of its personnel.

Bucks Notes: Giannis, Lillard, Green, Olympics

The Bucks are listing Giannis Antetokounmpo as doubtful on the team’s official injury report due to a left calf strain, making it unlikely that he’ll be available for Sunday’s series opener with Indiana.

Antetokounmpo was held out of practice this week as he recovers from the injury he suffered in an April 9 game. He participated in a walkthrough on Friday, but didn’t do anything more physical, coach Doc Rivers told Jim Owczarski of The Journal-Sentinel.

Antetokounmpo was given a two- to four-week prognosis after the injury occurred, and Owczarski notes that Game 2 of the series will mark exactly 14 days. Game 3 will be 17 days away and Game 4 will be 19, while a potential Game 7 would take place May 4, giving Antetokounmpo three-and-a-half weeks to recover.

Milwaukee was 4-5 without Antetokounmpo this season, including a pair of losses last weekend that dropped the team into the No. 3 seed.

There’s more on the Bucks:

  • Damian Lillard had planned to practice Tuesday as he works his way back from an aggravated Achilles tendon and an irritated adductor muscle, Owczarski adds, but Lillard said the medical staff’s decision to hold him out helped him to be a full participant Friday. Lillard underwent imaging to check the extent of the damage to both areas before returning to the court. “After that it was just like we got a week to get right, to get ready and that was kind of the focus,” he said. “I didn’t want to go out there with my pride or doing anything unnecessary. That was kind of the plan.”
  • A.J. Green isn’t on the injured list after spraining his left ankle in an April 10 game. Rivers tells Owczarski that Green was able to do “most things” at Friday’s practice, but Malik Beasley and Khris Middleton will see extended minutes if Green isn’t able to play. “We have to keep shooting on the floor,” Rivers said. “But A.J. has not only been good offensively, I think he’s been very good defensively. I think he’s been one of our guard rebounders as well. I mean, obviously we would love him to play. He looked good today.”
  • Lillard said he was contacted by Team USA about another Olympics appearance, but he wasn’t willing to make a commitment, Owczarski states in the same piece. Lillard wanted to concentrate on what he hopes will be a long playoff run with the Bucks, and he was reluctant to be away from his family for most of the summer. “I never committed to it and I was also never like, ‘I don’t want to go,'” Lillard said. “So, the roster I think they got a full roster now, so I’m not offended by it at all.”
  • In a separate story, Lillard tells Owczarski that rumors that he’s dissatisfied in his first year with the Bucks are inaccurate. “I saw somebody say ‘Dame is not happy in Milwaukee’ or something like that,” Lillard said. “I know the truth. I love the situation that I’m in. I also know what I have going on outside of basketball going on that kind of drains me at times. People are going to make comments. People are going to say things. And if it doesn’t go the way they said it was going to go, nobody is ever (going to) come to them and say ‘All right, you said this. Now what do you have to say about it?’ They are never held accountable for what they say publicly.”

Injury Notes: Caruso, Bulls, Bucks, Embiid, Hartenstein

Bulls defensive ace Alex Caruso will be available for tonight’s play-in tournament game in Miami, head coach Billy Donovan said (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago).

Guard Ayo Dosunmu (quad) and center Andre Drummond (ankle) will be active too, Donovan added. All three players had previously been listed as questionable.

Caruso was said to have sustained a “significant” left ankle sprain in Wednesday’s play-in victory over Atlanta, but the swelling subsided over the past couple days and he told reporters on Friday morning he expected to suit up. The injury was an aggravation of a previous sprain.

Duncan Robinson, who has been battling a back issue, will be available tonight for the Heat, tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Robinson was technically active for Wednesday’s loss to Philadelphia, Chiang notes, but he didn’t see any action — that might change with Jimmy Butler sidelined due to a knee sprain.

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Bucks guard Damian Lillard was a full practice participant on Friday, but two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (left calf strain) was unable to do any live drills, according to a report from ESPN. Reserve guard A.J. Green, who sat out Tuesday’s practice with a left ankle sprain, was able to go through most of Friday’s practice. There have been mixed messages from Milwaukee on Antetokounmpo’s status, with president Peter Feigin saying he”definitely will not be back for Sunday,” when the Bucks will host the Pacers in Game 1 of their first-round series. Head coach Doc Rivers is still holding out hope that the perennial All-NBA First Team member will be ready though, per ESPN. “I don’t know yet,” Rivers said. “We’re still hoping. He hasn’t done anything. Would we throw him out there? Yeah, we would. For us, still we’re not sure.”
  • Speaking of Lillard, the Bucks‘ All-Star said he aggravated his Achilles tendon in Sunday’s loss to Orlando, but his adductor has been giving him the most trouble, as Eric Nehm of The Athletic relays (Twitter links). Lillard missed four games over the past few weeks with various injury designations, but he said the week off has helped him recover.
  • Sixers center Joel Embiid is officially questionable for Saturday’s Game 1 in New York with what the team is calling left knee injury recovery, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic. Embiid, who missed a few months after tearing his meniscus in January, has been considered questionable for nearly every game since he returned to action at the beginning of April.
  • Since January 20, Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein has only played 30-plus minutes five times due to Achilles soreness. However, two of those instances came in his last two regular season games, and he said he’s ready for an increased workload in the postseason, according to Katz (Twitter link).